Museum News

The latest on acquisitions, exhibitions, and key decisions.

Stolen Anglo-Saxon brooch returned

An Anglo-Saxon square-headed brooch that was stolen from Rutland County Museum almost 30 years ago has been returned.

Photo: Rutland County Council – RCM.

Originally discovered in Market Overton, the bronze-gilt artefact was taken from the museum at night in 1995, together with eight more brooches and a Roman gold ring. The latter object was recovered shortly afterwards, but the others remained missing for decades – until one brooch was posted anonymously to the Metropolitan Police at the end of 2020. The Art Loss Register confirmed a match with their record of the stolen brooch and, following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the artefact has now been returned to Rutland Museum.

Rutland County Council is appealing for people to be on the lookout for artefacts that may have been stolen from public collections, including the eight brooches still missing.

British Museum and Shropshire Museums to develop new Partnership Gallery

Plans for a new Partnership Gallery at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery (SM&AG) have been announced.

Set to open in 2024, the new displays will explore local life from the Ice Age to the Roman period, utilising long-term loans from the British Museum, as well as displaying more of SM&AG’s geology and archaeology collections. Highlights will include woolly mammoth skeletons discovered in a gravel pit near Condover in 1986, enigmatic Iron Age spoons from Nesscliffe, and the Telford torc.

The gallery follows on from the British Museum spotlight loan ‘Gathering Light: a Bronze Age golden sun’, which runs until 12 December and showcases the Bronze Age ‘bulla’ that was featured in CA 349.

Marlipins Museum reopens

In last month’s CA we marked the 175th birthday of the Sussex Archaeological Society, and also profiled the historic properties in its care. Some of these were still closed to the public at the time of writing, but the Marlipins Museum in Shoreham-by-Sea – thought to be the oldest secular building in Sussex – has since reopened. The museum’s ground-floor maritime gallery will be open every Wednesday and Thursday until 28 October 2021, and the whole building is intended to open in spring 2022. Admission is free.

‘Longest Act’ on display

The ‘Longest Act’ – more formally, the 1821 Land Tax Commissioners’ Act – has gone on display at the People’s History Museum in Manchester to mark its 200th birthday. Made from 757 pieces of parchment and measuring 348m long, this piece of legislation is physically the longest law the UK Parliament has passed, and was loaned by the UK Parliamentary Archives. It will be on display until 5 December 2021.

Photo: Parliamentary Archives.

New exhibitions

Gathering Light: a Bronze Age golden sun
Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
Until 12 December 2021

Hidden Holt: the story of a Roman site
Wrexham Museum
Until 28 January 2022

The Galloway Hoard: Viking Age Treasure
Kirkcudbright Galleries
9 October 2021-10 July 2022
www.kirkcudbrightgalleries.org.uk/ the-galloway-hoard

Gold of the Great Steppe
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Until 30 January 2022

Last chance to see

Nero: the man behind the myth
British Museum, London
Until 24 October 2021

Militaria: accessories to the Roman War machine
Roman Army Museum, Greenhead
Until 31 October 2021